America First Legal Sues School District of Philadelphia for Racist Admissions Policy

WASHINGTON, DC — This week, in a case involving a race-based admissions policy in the School District of Philadelphia, America First Legal joined as co-counsel in a lawsuit on behalf of Pennsylvania parents who will be harmed by the school district’s discriminatory, racist practices.

In 2021, in the name of “antiracism” and “equity,” the School District of Philadelphia announced that, starting with the 2022–23 school year, it was changing its selection process for criteria-based schools from a race-neutral process to a racially discriminatory process. The school district did so despite 62% of the students attending those schools identifying as black or Latino and with no schools having a white majority. 

As the United States Supreme Court made it very clear in City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co., “[D]iscrimination on the basis of race is illegal, immoral, unconstitutional, inherently wrong, and destructive of democratic society.” Yet, the School District of Philadelphia instituted this policy, and in so doing, turned its back on the Constitution. By moving from a highly individualized and criteria-based process, to a gerrymandered lottery system, all students and their families lose. And, while all students participate in the lottery, students who reside in certain “underrepresented zip codes” are given preference for admission over students who do not reside in those zip codes.

This blantantly unconstitutional and discriminatory action by the School District of Philadelphia will not be tolerated by families who seek the best education for their children through a color blind, merit-based system. America First Legal is proud to stand with these parents who will not allow their children to be disadvantaged by the school system strictly because of the color of their skin.

Statement from America First Legal Vice-President and General Counsel Gene Hamilton:

Excellence in education demands that every student be given an opportunity to succeed based on their own individual talents, drive, and goals.” Gene Hamilton said. “This concept of equal rights and meritocracy is enshrined in the very fabric of the American experience. The School District of Philadelphia’s new admissions policy is not only a blatant violation of the Constitution, but it tells students that hard work and determination are no longer sufficient for success without considerations of race and ethnicity. We cannot and will not stand for such a cynical and unlawful encroachment on equal opportunity for our next generation of leaders,” Gene Hamilton said.

Read the complaint here.

To schedule an engagement with America First Legal, please email [email protected].

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